Picks and Pans Review: Hollywood's Latin Lovers
Long before Antonio Banderas donned The Mask of Zorro, the Latin Lover was a Hollywood staple: the ludicrously sensual seducer characterized by Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro and Cesar Romero. Fernando Lamas once voiced his frustration with being cast as a cliché. "They seem to think all Latins make love all day long," he said in 1961. "I assure you that isn't true. Once in a while I read a book!"
You wouldn't know it by reading this book. A swooning tribute to Hollywood's leading lotharios, its profiles are light on insight, serving merely as an excuse to print some appealing archival pictures. In modern times, Thomas laments, the Latin Lover has been slowly emasculated by the "gorgon-like gaze" of feminists, leaving just one amigo to fill his well-stitched boots: Banderas. "He is at once leather and lace," she writes, "merging uninhibited animal beauty with a teasing finesse." That's enough to make any guy want to hide behind a mask. (Angel City, $26)
Bottom Line: Just pretty faces